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Friday 9 December 2016

Rebels need rethink to solve scoring fade-out

Published 20/07/2015 | 02:30

James O’Donoghue, Kerry, breaks clear of Alan O’Connor, Cork during the bad weather which lasted throughout the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final Replay, Kerry v Cork
James O’Donoghue, Kerry, breaks clear of Alan O’Connor, Cork during the bad weather which lasted throughout the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final Replay, Kerry v Cork

There is an excuse for the dire football we had to endure in Killarney on Saturday night and it never fails: the weather was the cause of all the messy football and poor ball-handling.

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But of course it was still a Kerry-Cork Munster final and sure no decent football follower should ever complain about that.

Kerry won fairly easily, with Eamon Fitzmaurice revamping the team that should have lost in the drawn game - although the juggling around of players is not a sign of a team with total contentment.

The manager also showed ruthlessness when he took off his captain Kieran Donaghy and replaced him with an even greater icon, Colm Cooper. It's handy to have those kind of lads sitting in the dugout when the team needs a leg-up.

Cork did not have such a figure to bring a surge of adrenalin when they were flagging in the second half.

The loss of full-back Eoin Cadogan before the start was the first major setback but the yellow card shown to Alan O'Connor, the star of the drawn game was equally damaging - the dominant figure of the drawn game was operating with his hand tied behind his back lest he got sent off.

This was emphasised even further by the performance at midfield of David Moran, who had been black-carded a fortnight ago.

Kerry had more variation in their attacking play, particularly when Cooper arrived in the 44th minute. The emphasis switched from high balls into Donaghy to low balls into the other inside forwards.

From there to the end Kerry scored 1-2 while Cork scored nothing. That scoring fadeout is the biggest problem facing the Cork selectors as they try to salvage their year.

The return in scoring terms from the forward talent at their disposal is very poor and new ideas are required to advance further.

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